Picked as one of 8 finalists, read about the Fusco Family from Texas and why they nominated their German au pair Hanna as the Ultimate Au Pair!
We are the Fusco family. My name is Sandy and my husband is Russ. We are both attorneys. We have three wonderful children: Siena (8), Richard (6) and Eva (2).
During the interview process, we created a sample schedule and gave Hanna an idea of what it would be like to live and work with us. With three children and busy schedules, we wondered at first whether Hanna (who was eighteen and had just graduated from high school) would be right for our family. But we were impressed by her maturity and professionalism. She asked thoughtful questions demonstrating that she was really trying to understand our children and would take her job seriously. We matched and over the next several months we learned that our initial impressions of Hanna had been right on.
About a month after Hanna arrived, I learned that a case I was working on was going to trial much sooner than expected, which meant that my work responsibilities would increase significantly. As a result I would have less time to provide feedback and guidance than I would have liked, but Hanna stepped up to the challenge.
My trial lasted nearly three weeks. During that time I came home exhausted each day and despite my best efforts, I became disconnected from the family routine. But each day Hanna gave me details about the kids. For example, my two year-old, Eva, was acquiring language at a rapid pace, and Hanna would tell me which words or phrases Eva had started using.
When my trial ended, I started the process of catching up on what I had missed. My heart sank when I realized that neither I nor my husband had been keeping up on our eldest daughter’s homework over the past several weeks. I cannot express the relief I felt when I learned that Hanna had been helping Siena, and that she had not missed a single day’s assignment.
I cannot express the relief I felt when I learned that Hanna had been helping Siena, and that she had not missed a single day’s assignment.
During my trial Hanna also coordinated play dates with the neighborhood children. My neighbors, many of whom work from home, later told me what a wonderful job she had done with my children. I even received unsolicited emails from parents of other children who had interacted with Hanna at my children’s schools and been impressed with her.
When I ask my children what they like about Hanna, they say things like “she stops us when we fight,” “she never yells” and “she plays the Homework game with us.” Hanna came up with the homework game, which works particularly well for my son, who is easily distracted. It involves alternating homework with playing tag until all the work is done. This is just an example of how Hanna has come up with creative solutions to address the specific things that come up in our family’s life.
Hanna has also introduced us to German and European culture. The children were delighted to receive a visit from “Nikolaus” (not to be confused with Santa Claus), a German spirit who visited several weeks before Christmas to fill their shoes with oranges, nuts, and chocolates. And for Christmas she surprised us with a raclette grill, and taught us the European tradition of raclette grilling (basically melting big slabs of cheese over meat and vegetables—which turns out to be quite delicious). Hanna even made (made!) wreaths from pine boughs for our family and for our neighbors.
We are so grateful to have Hanna in our lives. She helped us through a challenging time and helped to keep me more connected with family and community than I otherwise would have been. And on top of all that, she is a wonderful person who we truly enjoy spending time with. We know that Hanna’s warm heart and sense of responsibility will lead her to success in whatever she chooses to do in life. We are glad that we have spent this time with her and feel that her presence has enriched our family.
Read stories about other Ultimate Au Pair Finalists